The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter
OPPOSITION MDC-T led by Dr Thokozani Khupe has hit back at its detractors who are alleging that the formation was a Zanu-PF project noting that those who were peddling such falsehoods were attempting to get an unfair political advantage.
Supreme Court judge Justice Bharat Patel, sitting with Justices Paddington Garwe and Antonia Guvava, in April ruled that Mr Nelson Chamisa was not the legitimate MDC leader in terms of the party’s constitution and subsequently ordered the convening of an extra-ordinary congress within three months to elect a new president.
The decision by the court settled the acrimonious MDC leadership wrangle pitting Mr Chamisa and Dr Khupe. Ever since the ruling members of the Mr Chamisa-led MDC-Alliance have labelled Dr Khuphe a sell-out, even claiming that she was a pawn of the ruling Zanu-PF. Last week, MDC Alliance vice-president, Professor Welshman Ncube was quoted in the private media saying Dr Khupe was shameless.
Responding to questions from the Sunday News, MDC-T, deputy secretary for information and publicity, who is also Dr Khupe’s spokesperson, Mr Khalipani Phugeni said Dr Khupe’s detractors were just angered by the fact that she refused to be submissive and allow for the infringement of her rights. He said most of the accusations that were being levelled against the party’s leaders were not provable by either Mr Chamisa or his cronies.
“It is a sad thing that people would treat others in a manner they would not want to be treated themselves, because we all know that natural justice demands that he that accuses must prove. Dr Khupe has previously been arrested over seven times, she has received nothing, publicly or privately from Zanu-PF, which the same cannot be said about her detractors.
“Simply because she stood firm and pushed back against infringement of her rights and stood resolute defending not only herself but her gender because she was being marginalised on the basis of her gender and ethnicity, so she stood firm, which the ruling elite and the private media did not like. They did not like this woman who was not submissive,” said Mr Phugeni.
He took a swipe at Prof Ncube and the MDC-Alliance co-vice-president Mr Tendai Biti for spreading baseless allegations noting that the two had themselves previously been labelled Zanu-PF projects by the same individuals they were now siding with.
“Dr Khupe’s working with Zanu-PF is only restricted or defined by the fact that it is the governing party of the day, so you can’t boycott Government because it is the Government that provides social services, build roads, gives us birth certificates to mention but a few, so if that is being Zanu-PF then all of us are Zanu-PF, as citizens of this country.
“Strange enough those that are now clamouring louder on this Zanu-PF tag, in particular Prof Ncube, has also once been called a Zanu-PF project by the same people he has joined ranks with. Tendai Biti was also once in the same boat, which was even worse for him as our late president Dr Morgan Tsvangirai is on record accusing him of having stolen large sums of money, so you are talking of a thief here, according to Dr Tsvangirai,” said Mr Phugeni.
He further clarified on the issue of recalling MPs and councillors saying they were still establishing those of their representatives that were pushing the party’s agenda and those that were not for them to come up with a detailed list of those that were to be recalled.
“Our agenda is not to recall, our agenda is to deliver, so you will appreciate that our representatives which we deploy in Government are being deployed to help us achieve this agenda. The issue does not have to do with whether one supports Dr Khupe or not but more of the values, aims and objectives of the MDC-T. This is something that we are patiently taking our time on because the violent takeover of the party did not help so the process of establishing those MPs and councillors that are carrying out their mandate with exception is taking time but very soon our caucus will be in shape,” he said.
On the issue of reclaiming of the MDC-T’s offices and assets around the country, Mr Phugeni said while the issue was still before the courts it was known to all that when Mr Chamisa usurped power he took both the party and its assets hence it had to follow that Dr Khupe’s MDC-T should also repossess their offices around the country.
He further revealed that at the moment they were not worried about public perception but were focusing on doing what was right in terms of the party constitution.
“We have not followed the public discourse mainly because we are doing what is right, it is not a popularity contest, it’s all about doing right by the party, Remember, Dr Khupe as the president of the party, she has what is called a fiducial duty towards the MDC-T and she must carry it out without fear or prejudice. The best way to carry out this mandate is not to worry much about public perception, I’m not saying public perception is not important but it is not a popularity contest, we are just making sure that the mandate of our people is carried out to the best of our ability,” said Mr Phugeni.